Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona 

Executive Director

Magdalena Sepúlveda is a human rights lawyer with vast experience on economic, social and cultural rights. In her 20-year career, Magdalena has focused on the intersection of poverty, development and human rights and has bridged research and policy formulation. She has worked as a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, as a staff attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, as the Co-Director of the Department of International Law and Human Rights of the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and as a Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy, in Geneva. More recently, she was a Senior Research Fellow at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).

From 2008 to 2014 she was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. From 2013 to 2017 she was a member of the High-Level Panel of Expert on Food Security and Nutrition of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS). In 2015, she was recognised in the Global Tax 50, a list of individuals and organizations with the biggest impact on taxation worldwide. Magdalena is also a member of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT).

Magdalena has published widely on human rights, poverty, gender and development and has taught university courses in Latin America and the United Kingdom. She writes frequent op ed columns and her pieces have been published in more than 30 countries.

Magdalena holds a Ph.D. in International Law from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, an LL.M in human rights law from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and a post graduate diploma on comparative constitutional law from the Universidad Católica de Chile.


Lucy McKernan

Geneva Representative

Lucy McKernan is the Geneva Representative of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. She is a human rights lawyer and experienced advocate for the human rights of persons living in poverty. She brings to the role a wealth of experience in human rights advocacy from the national and international levels, including how to effectively utilise the human rights mechanisms to advance the normative ESC rights framework and catalyse change at the domestic level. Lucy is a skilled advocate who has worked with a wide range of actors, including States, UN agencies, human rights mechanisms and civil society partners and devotes considerable time to facilitating access to the Geneva human rights mechanisms for local and national civil society partners. She is responsible for advocacy before the Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures, the Treaty Bodies, and Missions to the UN in Geneva. She is based in Geneva.


Sylvain Aubry

Legal and research advisor

Sylvain Aubry is currently working as a Research and Legal Advisor with the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural rights. He has been leading on research and advocacy on human rights and the role of the State in the delivery of essential services with the organisation since 2014, focusing in particular on privatisation in education and human rights. He is coordinating research in 12 countries as well as engaging with States, international organisations, and UN mechanisms. He has previously carried out research, capacity building and advocacy for various organisations, including Amnesty International, the Right to Education Project, FIAN International, ActionAid, and ESCR-Net, working on economic, social and cultural rights for the past 7 years. He has worked in particular on States’ obligations, the right to food, land rights, the right to health, corporate accountability, transitional justice, Roma rights,and the right to education, topics on which he has authored or co-authored about 30 reports and academic articles. He holds an LLM in international human rights law from the University of Essex and a Diploma in political sciences and international relations from Sciences Po Aix.

You can find his full profile on ke.linkedin.com/in/sylvainaubry/ Sylvain is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya.


Océane Blavot

Research and ADVOCACY Officer

Océane Blavot is currently working at the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as a Research and Campaign officer. Océane works on privatisation in the delivery of social services in the global south and particularly on privatisation of education the African Francophone region.

Océane holds a Masters from IRIS Sup’, the well-known French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS) Think Tank’s school. During her Masters, she completed her dissertation on privatisation of social services in the global south through donors’ partnerships with private actors, which led to the publication of an article in IRIS’s Humanitarian Affairs Think Tank: “What donor strategy lies beneath the renewal of cooperation with the private sector?”. Previously to IRIS Sup’, Océane graduated from the University of Brighton in the UK, with a BA in “Globalisation: History, Politics, Culture”. Her previous work experience include the French Development Agency (AFD), as well as the French Education Coalition (Coalition Education).

Océane is currently based in Dakar, Senegal.


Ashina Mtsumi

Policy and legal officer

Ashina Mtsumi is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, currently assisting with policy and legal research and advocacy on the role and impact of private actors on the rights to education, health and water. Ashina comes to GI-ESCR from Hakijamii, one of our partners in this and other projects, where she carried out research and advocacy on the right to education and supported strategic litigation on the rights to land and housing.

Ashina is based in Nairobi, Kenya.


Sarah French

Human Rights and Social Services Campaigner

Sarah French is currently work at the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as a campaigner on social services and human rights. Her work focuses on building a global movement against privatisation of social services, particularly around privatisation of education.

Sarah has worked with human rights and international development organisations within Canada and abroad. She recently worked with Amnesty International Canada and Human Rights Internet. She holds a BA(Hons) in Human Rights and Political Science from Carleton University and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.

Sarah is currently based in Ottawa, Canada.


Ruby Nyaoro

associate researcher

Ruby Nyaoro is currently working at the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as an Associate Researcher. Her research work focuses on privatisation and the right to education. She holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (Hons) from Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya. In the summer of 2015, she worked in Telangana, India, at Kaarmic Education Services, a social enterprise with a focus on driving innovation and reinvention of public education in India. She has also interned at the Arab Program for Human Rights Activists in Cairo, Egypt as a legal researcher.

Ruby is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya.


Vicente Silva

associate researcher

Vicente Silva works as an Associate Researcher with the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. He is a human rights lawyer assisting our office in Geneva with legal research and advocacy on the right to adequate housing, climate change and inequality. In the past 5 years, Vicente worked as National Legal Director in TECHO-Chile, an NGO dedicated to address poverty and inequality in Latin-America. He holds an LLM in international human rights law from the University of Essex and Postgraduate studies in international human rights law from Universidad de Chile.

Vicente is currently based in London.